When Russell isn’t running he has an Urban farm setup where he supplies organic produce from a roadside stall and
Walking is one of the most popular fitness activities in the world, and it’s easy to understand why. The exercise is low impact, so many people can easily do it regardless of age or physical condition.
That said, like any other form of exercise, walking is simply easier and more beneficial when you have the right gear. Whether that’s comfortable sandals for a walk on the beach, or a supportive pair of sneakers for heavy-duty power walks, your apparel can make or break your workout.
That doesn’t mean you have to shell out big bucks for fitness equipment. Instead, simply having the right footwear is often all you need.
Consider a pair of minimalist walking shoes if you’re looking for a style that will boost your strength and overall balance as well. The following information will help you better understand why this may be the ideal option for your needs.
What You Need to Know About Minimalist Walking Shoes
Most popular walking shoes include an arch. That’s not the case with the minimalist style. These shoes feature a flat sole, as well as extra space for a person’s toes. This allows for a freer range of motion than other styles typically provide.
Minimalist walking shoes were designed to more closely mimic the beneficial effects of walking barefoot. Obviously, most people don’t feel comfortable walking barefoot most of the time, and finding a surface to walk on that’s free of painful debris isn’t easy.
However, studies show that people who frequently wear traditional walking shoes are prone to anatomical changes. Quite simply, this type of footwear constricts the feet and limits their functionality.
Minimalist walking shoes reduce this constricting effect. This offers a wide range of benefits. For example, the arch in most walking shoes doesn’t allow certain muscles in the feet and legs to develop as fully as they would if a person were walking barefoot.
Essentially, the added support prevents walkers from using muscles that serve a genuine purpose. Switching to minimalist walking shoes allows them to use these muscles more freely. The effects of this style on balance are also positive. Shoes that constrict the toes prevent the wearer from taking advantage of the foot’s true shape. When the toes have more space, the feet return to their natural triangular shape. This added surface area provides a foundation for the body that results in enhanced balance. Evidence also suggests that it results in better posture over time.
To find the pair of minimalist walking shoes that’s best for you, consider where you plan on walking. For instance, if you plan on hiking or walking in unpaved conditions, opt for a pair with a thick sole. Many styles are designed for this purpose. While you’ll probably find that walking in minimalist shoes requires some adjustment at first, the long term benefits are more than worth it.
By Rae Steinbach
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).
Her twitter handle is @araesininthesun
The last few weeks of this marathon preparation have been slightly disjointed but things are finally falling into place now. At the end of week 12 I started to get a sore throat and head cold which meant I didn’t complete the week as planned and delayed my final long run.
Week 13 therefore had a different structure to most weeks of this preparation. I was planning a two week taper but missed my last long run and wanted to get this done before switching off and tapering. Week 13 went as follows;
Monday – Rest (Still sick)
Tuesday – Aerobic 45 min
Wednesday – Long Run including 4 x 5km at 4 min/km with 2 km aerobic rest between – Total 28km
Thursday – Aerobic 45 min
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Tempo run – 3 x 2km – first two 2km efforts at 3:55-4min/km, third at 3:30min/km – 1km recovery between.
The head cold I suffered returned at the end of the week and I decided to take Friday and Saturday off. The two major workouts this week were the final long run with 4 x 5km race pace or thereabouts efforts and the 3 x 2km tempo. Both these runs felt comfortable and leave me confident going into race week. Head cold is now 95% gone and I feel good about race week.
Only a week left now till Canberra marathon and time to move into that final week taper phase. Not looking to much out there this week other then to keep the legs moving and be ready to race on Sunday. One short, fast session on Tuesday before taking it easy for the rest of the week.
Monday – Aerobic 35-40 min
Tuesday – Tempo – 3 x 1500 at race pace with 500m recovery with a warm up and cool down.
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Aerobic 30 min
Friday – Aerobic 30 min
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Race Day
Overall happy with my preparation for this marathon. Fitness is as good as it could be and feeling motivated to give my best effort next Sunday. In some past races I have been relieved to get to the start line because the body needed a break from the training. This marathon I don’t feel that way and feel ready to race.
My goal for this marathon I to better my marathon personal best of 2 hour 57 min. The body and mind feel ready to get me there, but the marathon can be a troublesome beast and always throws a curveball your way. Looking forward to race day now.
A disappointing week of marathon training this week. After putting together a few very solid weeks I started the week motivated to continue in this fashion but the week went south fairly quickly. This week I only managed to run three sessions and took four unplanned days off in a row during the week for a couple of reasons.
Monday started as planned with an aerobic run of about 40 min. Tuesday, completed my planned tempo session with 3 x 3km with 3 min recovery between each tempo effort. I averaged 4:15 min/km for this set including the recovery and the session went as planned. Wednesday morning I felt very tired and fatigued for some reason and with a wet morning decided to move my rest day forward. Thursday I was ready to run however there was torrential rain and I decided against it. I don’t mind running in rain however this was extremely heavy rain and not the weather to run an interval session in. On both Friday and Saturday I woke with illness and a slight gastro bug and decided not to run. Saturday I probably could have run but decided not to and save myself for the long run on Sunday.
My Sunday long was a planned 3 x 14km race pace effort with a 30 min rest between. It’s a session I like to do for my confidence and building mental capacity before a marathon. I was still not feeling 100% and decided against completing this session as planned. I decided on a 1 hour 45 min aerobic run followed by a race pace 60 min to finish the session. I was able to complete this session and felt really good for most of the final hour run. Part 1 of this long run was 22km followed by 13km at an average pace of 4:01 min/km or a bit faster then my marathon goal pace.
Overall not the week I wanted, short on both time and distance running for 54km. But it is what it is and we move on to next week
Monday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Tuesday – Intervals (8 x 3 min at 3:30-3:35 min/km with 1 min recovery)
Wednesday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Long Run (5 x 5km at 4:05 – 4:10 min/km with 1km recovery)
Saturday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Sunday -Tempo (4 x 3km with 2 min recovery)
Hopefully back to another solid week of training. Moving my missed interval session nearer to the front of the week and will probably delay my taper by a few days to fit in another last session, either tempo or interval in week 13. This week I am planning another marathon specific long run with 5 x 5km efforts at race pace or very close to it with a one kilometre jog recovery between. This will give me 30-32km session that will be my last long run before the Canberra marathon.
While I missed a few training runs this week I didn’t dent my confidence. The soon part of my long felt quite good and this was pleasing as we are getting close to the race now.
Hope your training is progressing well.
Ten weeks of marathon training down, for weeks to go till Canberra marathon. This training cycle has gone quite quickly and in the recent weeks it has started to come together and I feel like I am getting ready to run a good marathon.
This week I gave myself a couple of days to recover from Port Macquarie Half Marathon last Sunday. This result has given me confidence that my running is on track and the motivation to push hard over the last few weeks of hard training till the marathon. Monday I felt sore in the legs and my recovery run was only 6km and fairly painful. Tuesday was a planned rest day and this was well timed as the legs were still pretty sore.
Wednesday the legs were still sore but I decided to push on with my planned hill session. Hills felt quite good once I got started and I managed to complete this session relatively comfortably. Thursday was a flat 10km aerobic run. Legs were starting to feel better by this stage of the week. Friday was my long run day this week and I felt really good for the majority of the 2 hours 40 min I ran covering just under 33km in this session. Saturday was another aerobic run of 7km on fatigued legs from the previous days run.
Sunday I attempted a tough interval session. Goal of this session is to increase my overall speed while in a fatigued state. After a warm up I ran a 10km comprising of 4 x 2km at half marathon pace (3:45-3:50 min/km) followed by 500m hard (3:20-3:30 min/km) after each 2km. Tough part of this run is to go back to half marathon pace after a hard 500m and recover from the effort at a high cruising speed. For the most part I was happy with this run but it certainly hurt and made me work hard.
Overall 78.5km run for the week another consistent strong week.
This week I am planning another strong week. Hoping to get my mileage up towards 90km which is about my limit currently with my work, family and study schedule.
Monday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Tuesday – Tempo (3 x 3km at 4:00- 4:05min/km with 3 min float)
Wednesday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Thursday – Intervals (8 x 3 min at 3:34-3:45 min/km 90 sec rest)
Friday – Aerobic ( 45-60 min)
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Marathon specific long run (3 x 14km at goal race pace with 30 min rest)
This week there are three significant sessions to begin to peak my training towards the marathon. Hills have been replaced by tempo for the remainder of the preparation. Strength work is now completed and it’s time to peak my speed and endurance for the marathon.
Tempo session on Tuesday is relatively straight forward with three tempo efforts to work on my marathon cruising speed. This pace should feel relatively comfortable in my current condition.
Intervals on Thursday is another key session to build speed. Keeping these efforts relatively long and more specific with marathon training. 3 min at good pace with a rest of 90 sec to lower my heart rate and get me ready for the next. Eight of these efforts will be a challenge but one I should be able to handle.
A session I like to do three weeks from a goal marathon is this 3 x 14km with 30 min rest between at goal race pace. I haven’t decided what goal race pace is yet but it will be 4:10 min/km or slightly lower. Aiming to beat my marathon best of 2 hours 57 min. This session is hard, very hard but when I nailed this session three week before Seoul marathon I knew I was going to run my best race. This session is as much about building speed and endurance as it is about building confidence. This is a session I am already anxious about running next week.
Looking forward to another good training week.
Week 6 of marathon training was a disjointed week and the schedule changed from what was planned. Travelling for work early in the week left me fatigued mid week and I had to reassess the plan as the week unfolded.
Running went to plan while I travelled for work with runs in Penrith in Sydney. Aerobic on Monday and intervals on Tuesday were run to plan. After a few weeks of longer (3 min) intervals I enjoyed the shorter intervals at 1 min and had fun with this session. Albeit I ran it mostly in an industrial area as I wasn’t sure of where I was running.
Took a rest day on Wednesday as I was feeling fatigued instead of cycling. Thursday with my long run planned I woke up early with a bad headache and it was very hot and humid. Didn’t have a long effort in me this day so I took another unscheduled rest day.
From here I changed the schedule up so i can fit in my hills and long run into the week. Friday I ran hills over my usual terrain. Still hot and humid this was an uncomfortable run. Saturday I ran a short aerobic run followed by 2 hour long run on Sunday before I went to work. Normally I don’t run long runs before work but needed to get this one in. Overall this meant my running went quite good for the week but no cycling or swimming this week.
Sometimes you do have to change the plan when things don’t go to plan and taking the two rest days meant the quality of my runs was better later in the week.
Week 7 now and after this week we are half way through the scheduled plan. Starting to feel like my running is coming together. The triathlon side of things isn’t going to plan this week and I may reassess and abandon plans for the Ironman 70.3 race, will decide this in the next week or so whether to continue or whether to just focus on the marathon only.
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Run – Hills – 1 hour ( 3 x 2km repeats)
Wednesday – Bike – Aerobic 1 hour
Thursday – Run – Intervals 1 hour ( 20 x 1 min with 1 min rest)
Friday – Bike – Aerobic 1 hour
Saturday – Run – Long Run 2 hour 30 min (Including 3 x 5km at 4:20 min/km threshold)
Sunday – Run – Aerobic 45min – 1 hour
During Thursday’s interval session I am increasing the rest component from the previous week. Aim of this session is to run each effort below 3:30 min/km with increasing the rest to assist I am able to give my best effort every interval.
Long run on Saturday needs to hit 2 hour 30 min. Within each of the first three 45 min periods I will run 5km at my threshold pace. Will try and keep this run over a relatively flat terrain.
Looking forward to another strong week of building towards the Canberra Marathon. Feeling like my training is heading in the right direction currently and want to keep this feeling. Feeling ready to run when you step on the start line is a big advantage for later when the race becomes a mental battle.
Train well, run well.
reach out if you have any questions or concerns about your running.
Photos from week 6 of marathon training
This morning I completed my 30 day run streak and during this time I made some discoveries about my running. Here they are…..
- Aerobic training is beneficial
At the start of the run streak I decided that all my running in these 30 days would be aerobic and I would forget about pace. On the whole I was able to manage this only running twice outside my aerobic capacity. This was a parkrun effort and last weeks goal race pace half marathon run.
Running purely aerobically for the majority of the 30 days has seen me develop my aerobic capacity. Running aerobically often is easy on the body and recovery is simple, when you run within your limits there is no soreness the next day and you are able to run more. Following this when I did increase the intensity and complete a tougher workout, my half marathon felt very comfortable. Building the aerobic engine is very beneficial for running performance.
The take away from this discovery is that during my next focussed training block I will have more aerobic training to compliment the focussed harder workouts.
2. Technology is unnecessary (almost)
Another goal of this run streak was to divorce pace and use perceived effort to measure my run rather achieve a pace for the run. This has been a successful discovery where I am now unconcerned by the pace my watch is saying and rather the feeling my body gives me from the effort I output.
During each of the runs I have only looked at the time for the run on the watch and not pace. This has taught me to focus on my feeling and breathing to stay aerobic and run consistent pace through effort. During the harder half marathon effort the same applied and I was impressed by the consistent pace I was able to achieve.
The future of my running will feature less reliance on technology, I am committed to continuing to monitor my running by feel and use the data to analyse post run.
3. Running everyday is good for you
While I am normally an advocate for rest days, life balance and letting the body recover from runs I found the task of running everyday good for me. All my runs are completed in the early mornings and the simple task of committing to getting up each morning and going through the process to get out the door and run was mostly pretty easy.
During the 30 day streak I had wet weather on 5-6 of my runs, only one of these days did I consider not running through the rain, however this doubt lasted about 15 minutes before I decided to get the job done.
I enjoyed the day to day commitment of getting out the door to complete my run. Committing to a run streak is a way to challenge you to overcome a small challenge everyday and start the day ready to tackle something bigger if it arises.
4. Minimal footwear is better
This may have not been a discovery but more a reinforcement. Every run I did with the exception of one run were completed in zero drop footwear. these specifically were Gladsoles sandals both the trail 8mm and new 6mm and Carson Footwear Iguana Racers.
If you are fully transitioned to barefoot running then minimal footwear is better for your running. After 4-5 days of the run streak I had a slight pain in my right calf that was evident for a few runs, this went away by itself and I was able to run without pain for the all the other runs. Minimal footwear keeps you aware, your feet stronger and running with better technique. To run injury free for long periods of time these are important. Without trying to jinx myself to an injury I believe the benefits of transitioning to minimal shoes will help me run longer into my life.
Don’t be scared to make a change to your footwear if you are on a path of consistent injuries. It will take time but it will be worth it.
Overall the run streak has been an enjoyable experience and most likely will continue beyond 30 days. My routine of running every morning is a habit I would like to continue.
Photos from a 30 day run streak
In a recent post I listed the reasons why you should be barefoot running, however how do you transition? The main barefoot running transition question people as is how long will is take? This is different for everyone and may take as little as a couple of months or much longer. In order to give yourself the best chance of transitioning successfully and without injury the following tips may help.
If you take the time to transition correctly and build the strength and mobility needed to barefoot run long term you will reap the benefits down the track.
If you are an accomplished runner and have decided to transition to a flatter more minimal shoe or to barefoot running then it is difficult to stomach that you may only be able to run for very short periods for the first weeks or months. Patience is essential to avoid injury. For the first few weeks you should be combining walking and running either barefoot or in minimal shoes and running for no longer then 10 minutes working up to 30 minutes at a timely the end of the first month. This will require patience and humility if you are used to running for much further.
Be ‘barefoot’ in everyday life
Increasing the time you walk barefoot will assist in building strength in your lower limbs and feet that are essential for barefoot running. Look to purchase some minimal shoes for work or casual life and try and be barefoot when at home. This will increase your mobility of the muscles that need to be retrained in order for injury free barefoot running.
Concentrate on your form
While you are transitioning to barefoot running concentrate on your form. Concentrate on landing on the balls of your feet, stay upright, don’t over stride and stay light on your feet. This will make sure you use the muscles associated with barefoot running and give them the best chance to gain mobility and strength.
You may choose to continue to run some mileage in your ‘old’ cushioned running shoes, especially if you are a seasoned runner. This is perfectly fine however make sure you concentrate on your form even in your cushioned shoes and retrain the body to run on your forefeet.
Listen to your feet
When you start running barefoot or in minimal shoes it is essential you look for the signs that you are overdoing it. It is normal to experience a small amount of pain in the calves, achilles and feet however too much and you may need to reduce the mileage and take longer to transition. This is a key sign of taking the time necessary to transition successfully and avoiding injury. Be prepared to have a long term view if the pain is experienced.
Use these simple tips and ask for advice if things don’t go to plan. Every runners barefoot transition is different and will therefore the process for each runner may be different.
If you have successfully transitioned to barefoot running how did you do it?
What obstacles did you need to overcome, and how did you do it?
While barefoot running has faded somewhat from the mass media attention it was receiving a few years ago there are still some very valid reasons why you should be running barefoot.
By barefoot running we mean running without shoes or in minimal footwear. By minimal footwear we mean shoes with the following attributes. Low heel to toe differential or heel drop, wide toe box and less cushioning and flexible materials. There are many different minimal footwear options available today.
Transitioning to barefoot running takes time. If you try to rush the process, you may suffer injuries in the calves or achilles. Be sure not to rush the process, it may take months or even years. Once your transition is complete your running will benefit.
The four top reasons you should be barefoot running are;
- Reduced injuries
Once you have transitioned to barefoot running you will likely run lighter, with a forefoot landing over a bent knee. This will ensure that you suffer less lower limb related injuries related to running. While barefoot running is not a panacea to injury free running it will go a long way to helping you run consistently more without injuries. Cushioned shoes won’t stop you getting injured, most likely they are the cause.
Running in an inflexible, cushioned shoe will inhibit the natural movement of your foot. The shoe does the work which the foot is designed to do, this will weaken your feet over time. Running barefoot or in flatter, more flexible footwear will build strength in your feet and lower limbs. With strong feet comes a strong platform to run successfully and run injury free.
3 Better awareness
” The more minimal you are the more aware you are” Chris McDougall
With more awareness comes better ground feel. While running you will become more aware of your posture, foot landing, surroundings and effort. More awareness of your foot landing means you will be aware of every step and how and what you land on. This is a key reason why accomplished barefoot runners can run injury free as their awareness for where their foot lands is greater. Simply put running barefoot allows for more sensory feedback which increases awareness.
4. Get faster
Forefoot running is faster than heel striking, pretty simple. Landing on your heel with a straight leg gives a braking effect, landing on your forefoot with a bent leg is faster and a more efficient way to run. If you want to get faster barefoot running can help you achieve this.
Transitioning to barefoot running is important, be patient and don’t rush the process however slow it may be. Once you successfully transition you will be free of heavy, inflexible running shoes and your running will become transformed.
If you wear traditional cushioned running shoes and have suffered injuries, it’s time to rethink your running footwear. Taking them off or replacing them with minimal shoes could be the answer.
Earlier this week I committed to a month of running where I divorced myself from pace. Or at least committed to not monitoring pace during my runs. My watch has been set to a single data only of time to measure to monitor the length of my runs only.
Being overly reliant on technology is an easy trap to make for the modern runner and a trap that I have fallen into at times. My goal for this month of running is to enjoy my running and divorce myself from needing technology to measure my pace on any runs.
When I started running there weren’t GPS watches, I measured my runs simply on feel and perceived effort. I was still able to train and race as well as I do today without technology. My goal is to get back to this level of feel before I start training for another race so that I am ready to train without the burden of technology. Technology will be used to analyse my effort post run.
I guess you could call this the next step in my minimalist running transition. The transition to minimal footwear has enlightened my running and I believe a minimalist approach to technology will do the same.
During these four days of running all my runs have been easy aerobic runs. I have resisted looking at pace or any other metrics during these runs. I have also resisted pushing the pace on these runs and ensured the pace was easy.
What have I noticed in four runs?
- I’ve looked at my watch a whole lot less
2. There is scenery around me everywhere
3. The mind works better with less distractions
So far the divorce from pace has been a positive experience. Looking beyond the next month where the pace will remain aerobic, I aim to continue this approach to when I resume with my three keys weekly runs being the long run, intervals and hill repeats during my next race preparations.
Just some of the scenery I was able to take in during my last four runs.